SUV Stands for Stuck Under Vehicle

By: Nick Johnson

SUV rollovers have become a huge safety issue in the eyes of the governmental crash test safety commissions. SUV rollovers are frequent in a very high percentage of Sport Utility Vehicle involved accidents. Unfortunately, SUV rollovers can create a devastating scene when an accident should have been completely survivable. Serious injury and death are likely to occur in the event of an accident that involves an SUV rollover.

SUV rollovers occur when the Sport Utility Vehicle is unable to maintain a safe center of gravity and it becomes top heavy during a turn or an accident. With a wheelbase too narrow for safe navigation of turns, SUV rollovers often happen when it is least expected. While weather factors can play a role in creating SUV rollovers, most of these accidents occur when the roadways are clear of ice and snow.

In single vehicle crashes, SUV rollovers accounted for 53% of deaths involving SUV single vehicle accidents while small car single vehicle crashes accounted for only about 19%. That's a huge difference and one that truly has opened the eyes of governmental crash test safety commissions. Smaller Sport Utility Vehicles, the ones with a wheel base of about 100 inches, are much more likely to be involved in a rollover accident. Sport Utility Vehicles with 100 inch wheel bases were involved in four times more SUV rollover accidents than single vehicle crashes with regular cars. These are some staggering numbers considering that Sport Utility Vehicle manufacturers have marketed SUVs as safer than average vehicles. These numbers prove that Sport Utility Vehicles are not safer than regular cars.

Safe driving issues are partially responsible for the high number of SUV rollover accidents. SUV drivers tend to drive these vehicles as though they are regular cars, or tanks. Sport Utility Vehicles are neither tanks nor regular cars, and they can not be driven as if they are. SUVs are higher, they don't corner well, and despite their four wheel drive features, they are still able to lose control under inclement conditions. Driving an SUV at high speeds in the snow when everyone else is creeping along is begging for an accident.

SUV rollovers are just as likely to occur in accidents involving smaller cars. While small car passengers are more likely to die in an accident involving an SUV due to design flaws, not weight, SUV rollovers are likely to occur after the SUV hits the small car. SUV rollovers have become a serious safety issue. Sport Utility vehicles are far from compatible with other vehicles on the road, and pose a greater threat to small car owners and drivers than other vehicles. SUV rollovers still remain a top threat to SUV drivers.

SUV rollover tests along with other crash testing results prompted governmental organizations to require higher safety standards for Sport Utility Vehicles. The process ceased however, when these organizations realized the cost for SUV manufacturers in redesigning all of their Sport Utility Vehicles. SUV manufacturers returned the favor with promises to create safer Sport Utility Vehicles. Few safety features have been added to create safer Sport Utility Vehicles to protect other cars or to prevent SUV rollovers.

Most Sport Utility Owners report that they purchased their SUV in an effort to be safer on the roadways. Many SUV owners report that despite the safety literature and research released on the lack of safety which SUVs are known for, they still feel safer in their SUV. SUV rollovers have become a well known phenomenon, but SUV owners feel that they can handle their vehicle without special training or driving advice. This mentality only increases SUV rollover risks and small car driver safety risks.

In a recent poll, most American drivers are concerned about SUV safety and SUV rollovers, a much higher percentage of care came from those who don't even own an SUV. Car companies claim that the production of their Sport Utility Vehicle lines are designed around what the SUV driver wants. This is in direct contrast with what the polling shows.

SUV rollovers will continue to be a risk as long as drivers are willing to accept their SUVs without additional safety features. Public education about SUV rollovers have heightened awareness, but has not deterred SUV sales enough for the manufacturers to feel the impact. The Sport Utility Vehicle manufacturers are not willing to take the initiative to create SUVs that are safer and prevent SUV rollovers, and thus as long as consumers continue to purchase these vehicles, the risk factors will never be addressed.

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